A Prophet of Character?

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Life of prophets

As disciples of God, we need to grow in character. It seems many in the church just want the gifts and the calling, but they are not willing to allow God to change them so that their character glorifies Him. To grant gifts and to awaken callings is easy for the Lord, but to build character speaks of a journey and it speaks of self-sacrifice, obedience, faithfulness, and deep submission.

For the prophet, character is everything. For this reason, the Lord says in Matthew 7: 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits … A prophet should walk in character, thus the fruits of the Spirit. His entire life should speak about a relationship with God, for the prophet is completely and utterly committed to the ways of the Lord, the Kingdom of God, and the path of righteousness.

Above all, a prophet walks in humility, for the prophet realizes his calling comes not from himself but from God. He speaks not out of himself, and the prophet does nothing to promote, benefit or profit himself, but everything is to the glory of the King and to establish the truth of the Lord. All of this takes character – therefore a journey of becoming more like the Lord.

We see for example the lack of character and integrity shown by prophets in Jeremiah 23: 11 “For both prophet and priest are profane; Yes, in My house I have found their wickedness,” says the Lord. And also Zephaniah 3 (NKJV) when dealing with the wickedness of Jerusalem says in verse 4 her prophets are insolent, treacherous people. Insolent speaks of showing a rude and arrogant lack of respect. This is certainly not the character as shown by the true prophet of the Lord!

God is rising up true prophets – not just because they walk in spirit and truth, but because they are prophets of character. A prophet cannot speak from a place of bitterness, anger, rejection, unforgiveness, or even hate. A prophet must only speak as the Lord leads. In Ezekiel 36, regarding Israel’s renewal, we read: 26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My ordinances and do them.

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The promise that God makes to Israel, is the promise that came also into fulfillment for the Gentiles under the New Covenant. By the Blood of our Lord Jesus, our heart of stone has been removed and we have been given the heart of the Lord, thus the heart of flesh (one that can feel). The Spirit has been poured out so that we can walk by the Spirit of the Lord, and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit (John 16), we can walk in the statutes and we will keep His ordinances. This was also the crux of the Great Commission of Matthew 28 … 20 teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you.

Therefore, every disciple of God should be walking as a new creation, with a heart of flesh, and by the Spirit of the Lord in order to obey. And this is also true for the prophetic. Since a prophet deals with words, a prophet that speaks out of anger or out of unforgiveness or bitterness can cause great harm, for he then speaks out of the flesh and not the Spirit. Sure, a lot of people in the Body of Christ have been hurt within the church system, and this includes prophets.

Many prophets have been rejected, ridiculed, mocked, or even spiritually abused themselves, but despite this, the prophet must never act or speak out of such emotion. This then is like fighting evil with evil, for we must be reminded of the warning in James 3 about how the tongue is a fire. For it is written in this chapter: 5 In the same sense, the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See [by comparison] how great a forest is set on fire by a small spark! 6 And the tongue is [in a sense] a fire, the very world of injustice and unrighteousness; the tongue is set among our members as that which contaminates the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life [the cycle of man’s existence], and is itself set on fire by hell (Gehenna).

So yes, by the prophetic word, we either speak the Truth of God thus the holy fire of God or we speak profane fire that contaminates. God is looking for prophets who will speak not with words of hurt and who seek to cause harm because of personal vendettas or agendas, but prophets who speak purity, and who speak only as the Lord leads. A wounded prophet who has not grown in character is thus dangerous, for by his words he set ablaze people with hell fire.

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A prophet thus needs to walk in the character of the Lord, because a prophet walks a rather lonely journey. A prophet deals many times with truths that may not be revealed, and he deals with truths that no one wishes to heed, or he deals with words of correction or judgment that bring scorn and mockery. Many times the true prophet is dealt with like a soda machine and must be ready and willing to spew out something – an utterance – at the drop of a coin. The life of a prophet is not easy.

They are often misunderstood, for they may seem to be strange, weird, unflinching, and even hard. The reality is that a prophet is a spokesperson for a supernatural God, and the prophet never questions or argues, but only acts.
Character is vital to wither the storms, to brave the onslaughts, and to digest scrutiny. A prophet is after all constantly under attack – not just from those around him, but by the enemy, for a true prophet speaks in the authority of God and speaks the Truth of the matter that brings freedom, liberty, and exhortation.

The devil wants to derail the prophet, and so often the character of the prophet will be under assault. And this assault comes in many different forms and can be spiritual, emotional, and even physical. The assault can come from close to home – among friends and family – and even from believers, or from heathens, or demons. Whatever the assault, the prophet will constantly face tremendous ‘storms’ to break down their faith, their courage, and their conviction. Their character will be under assault, for the devil wants a prophet to give up, hide, cower, and throw pity parties. Prophets are often faced with the dangers of depression, rejection, anger, and disillusionment. A character that has been shaped and formed by the Lord will help and aid the prophet to weather these storms.

Consider the attack that Elijah endured at the hands of Jezebel, and the inner conflict that deals with his character that ensued. 1 Kings 19 KJV: 19 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. 3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. 5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. 6 And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. 7 And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. 8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. 9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? 10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

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Elijah had just tasted victory on Mount Carmel, but then despondency overwhelmed him as he considers how the prophets were slain and God’s covenant violated. We should take note that Elijah was vexed by these actions, for a prophet loves the Lord, loves the truth of the Lord, and does not tolerate such wickedness. This is the character of the prophet. So Elijah was left in a state of despair, and his character was truly challenged. Yet the Lord encouraged the prophet with the following assignment in the same chapter – 15 Then the Lord said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. 16 Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. 17 It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill. 18 Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

As we fast forward to the ministry of Jesus, He being the greatest prophet as the Son of God, spoke the following words against the religious leaders of the time in Matthew 23: 29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ 31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

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Our Lord, like Elijah, was vexed by the actions of those who had slain the prophets, for this was a direct rebellion against God. They, therefore, had tried to silence the voice of God. Prophets from the days of old until now have and will always be under threat and attack, and will not always be welcomed, simply because they speak the Truth of God and they do not swim with the tides of culture and tradition. So the journey of a prophet is vexing, and a challenge, for even in exhortation and praise God’s holiness, purity, and truth must be declared. It can be a lonely journey, for a prophet does understand and sees and knows what others at times cannot. So the prophet is in danger of taking the burden upon himself, instead of trusting in the Lord to strengthen and guide him.

We read in 2 Peter 2: Confirming One’s Calling and Election: 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

And also … Titus 1: 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for doing anything good.

These Scriptures continue to be a reminder for us to bolster our understanding and to grasp His ways. Let us keep in mind that the Lord calls us to obedience, He calls us to keep His order, He calls us to worship Him as I Am and He calls us to seek Him daily to receive a fresh revelation of Him. We are to guard against the corruption of the mind, of the flesh, and of the spirit. If we seek Him, then He will go with us to prepare a favorable path. It reminds us to seek a path of growing our character so that we shall be effective and productive in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. This especially applies to the prophet, who should seek a character of goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love.

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Everything Jesus did was out of love. Everything a prophet does as led by the Spirit, even when rebuking or reproofing, must be done out of love, and always in the Spirit of the Lord. A prophet ultimately spends a lot of time with the Lord, in fellowship, listening, and submitting to the ways of the Lord. It is only our character as disciples that proves that we are truly children of God, not our works. For a prophet is ultimately a disciple of God. No matter what works we do, if it is without the character of Jesus it could easily fool and deceive. Remember 1 Corinthians 13 which says 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. Charity in this case speaks of love, which speaks of your character which must be like that of our Lord.

Preaching to millions, evangelizing, baptizing, or whatever form of work unto God can have the appearance of godliness yet it can also be administrator without true power or anointing.

Sons and daughters are truly known by their fruits. 1 Thessalonians 4: Living to Please God: As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact, you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit. 9 Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

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Character is the key to making an eternal difference. Only through character, implying the way we behave, the way we react, our attitude, and so forth serves as the key to what extent we have submitted and allowed God to change us. In his epistles to Timothy, Paul alludes to the importance of character. Paul was writing these epistles late in his life, during his first and second imprisonment in Rome. Paul had thus by this time done a lot, seen a lot, and experienced many highs and lows, and now we like Timothy are in the privileged position of hearing from a man who reached a point of greater spiritual maturity. And it is clear from the letters to Timothy that for Paul to walk in accordance to God’s character, in His image, in His will in order to bear fruit of the Holy Spirit is of utter importance. This is also the case for the prophet.

In churches, we have concentrated on doing things right according to our ways and equipping people to minister, but we have neglected that just as important, if not more, is to build character and to grow in the image of the Lord. What good is it then if the prophet can prophesy until the heavens weep but he has no character and no integrity?

Character speaks of values, morals, and ethics. It speaks of walking in the ways of God because we are being transformed in His image. Character comes by spiritual maturity, thus abiding and spending time with God.

Paul sees Timothy more like a son, and by all likelihood, Timothy was a delegate to the apostle to keep the Church on track in Ephesus. So Paul was speaking to Timothy as a spiritual father, a friend, and a mentor. Paul, therefore, finds it important to keep urging his spiritual son to always seek goodness, and godliness and to ultimately grow in the character of God. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 4: 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.

Paul often urges believers to follow his example and his conduct. He even mentions to Timothy when he writes in 2 Timothy 3: 10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings. Again in his epistle to Timothy, he urges the young believer to walk in God’s character which is reflected in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.

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And this should be true for the prophet of God. If we look at the Church today, are we truly as disciples, and therefore as prophets, setting an example of God’s character and nature by our conduct, speech, love, and faith? Again, it is easy to appear godly and pious, but the condition of our character will manifest itself. Therefore Jesus spoke clearly on the fruits we should be carrying, which is a referral to the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5.

For the prophet, it is truly about walking and dwelling with God, for the prophet needs to hear clearly as the Lord speaks. The prophet must be so led by the Spirit he knows exactly what to do and when to do it. In the counsel of the Lord, the prophet spends his time, casting aside all arrogance, pride, and boastfulness. A prophet must truly be the representative of the Lord in speech, conduct, character, and faith.

A prophet without character is dangerous, for such a prophet will then ultimately act not in the love, or the goodness, or the knowledge of the Lord. Such a prophet can then easily become bitter and angry, using words to destroy, yet never to the glory of the Lord. Such a prophet can then easily begin to speak and prophecy not in the Spirit of the Lord, but from a place of the soul, fuelled by hate, bitterness, anguish, pain, hurt, or even anger.

There is nothing more dangerous than when a true prophet begins to speak out of the flesh, or from a place of hurt, rejection, anger of hate. A prophet’s word hold power and his words can easily change from a blessing to a curse. A prophet must never speak from a place of emotion or imagination, but only speak as the Lord leads. This calls for character and spiritual maturity.

A prophet, therefore, needs to lead a path of self-control, always by the Spirit, and never be led by emotions, or selfish thoughts. For the prophet it is all about the glory of God, upholding Truth, and upholding His honor, and this cannot be done where character has not been in the process of being refined and developed. For the prophet in calling, part of the process towards being commissioned is a process of developing character, and a process of yielding and submitting to the Lord.

And yes, for the prophet the spiritual road can be a difficult one, for no prophet is accepted in his hometown, meaning prophets are not always welcomed, or well-received when they truly move in the presence of God. After all, they speak the Truth of the Lord, and such truth can often challenge and confront the illusion of reality or truth. So the prophet will often deal with rejection, and ridicule, and be often confronted by the counterfeit, by the proud, by the religious, and by the traditionalist. Yet a prophet must stand his ground, and keep close to the Lord because for the prophet all that truly matters is what the Lord speaks.

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A prophet of the Lord is to share and partake in the sufferings of Christ and one of those sufferings and cups to drink that cannot be passed on is certainly the cup of rejection (Isaiah 53:3). Rejection is extremely painful, especially when it comes from family members, friends, and people in ministry that you thought you could trust.

It only takes a cursory reading of all the Old Testament prophets to understand that they too were men who were deeply rejected. What about the New Testament? John the Baptist was rejected, Jesus Christ was rejected, and many of the prophets that came after Him continued to be rejected. In fact, Scripture is clear that one of the signs of a false prophet is that everyone loves everything they prophesy (Jeremiah 5:31). In the words of Jesus, He said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you.” (Luke 6:26)

According to the testimony of both the prophets themselves and Jesus Christ, there is no way around rejection if you are truly called as a prophet of the Lord.

Thus for the prophet, it is wise to receive rejection as part of the prophetic training, but choose not to operate in a spirit of rejection. This is where the path of a prophet and the need for healthy and mature development can become very difficult. As a prophet of the Lord, one will be trained by the rejection of men, but it is not healthy nor is it the will of God that you walk in a spirit of rejection. When prophets operate out of a spirit of rejection, they are convinced that they are constantly “alone” in their calling and everyone is either against them now or will be in the future.

The spirit of rejection operating in a wounded prophet’s life has convinced them that it’s them versus the world and they are out to prove everyone wrong. The motive of the heart behind prophets who operate out of the spirit of rejection is to show the world and religion how badly they missed it with them.

At the same time, the prophet must not confuse rejection with correction. The prophet in his humility must be open to correction, but must not view it as rejection. Prophets who operate in a spirit of rejection actually interpret Godly correction as rejection or persecution. Mature prophets who have suffered from rejection but do not walk in a spirit of rejection are being actively fathered or mothered in some capacity. Prophets who operate in a spirit of rejection have convinced themselves that no one can be trusted, regardless of how godly they are. This is an extremely dangerous place to be as a prophet of the Lord and will certainly stunt your growth in the prophetic call upon your life.

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Ezekiel, Paul, and Jesus are among the most prominent figures in the Bible. Each was a prophet sent from God. What links them together is their apparent lack of success according to the standards of their own time and place. Each was a rejected prophet who faced opposition from those who, at least in retrospect, should have accepted and honored them. It says in Matthew 13 (NKJV): 53 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. 54 When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” 57 So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” 58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Ezekiel prophesied to his people in the early 6th century B.C. Having been in one of the first groups of exiles to Babylon, Ezekiel was called by God to warn the rest of his people back in Judah that the worst was yet to come unless they changed their ways. In the story of his commissioning as a prophet (Ezekiel 2), he is warned by God that he would be addressing people who were “hard of face and obstinate of heart.” Nevertheless, his task was to preach to his people “whether they heed or resist.” For Ezekiel, success was measured by fidelity to his prophetic calling, not by personal popularity or worldly success.

Jeremiah lived and prophesied at the end of an age. For 40 years he had to proclaim an unpalatable warning – ‘this world, this Kingdom, this comfortable system of life is coming to an end!’ From a human assessment, Jeremiah’s ministry could be deemed a failure. For forty years the Lord God had made an impassioned appeal through His prophet, seemingly to no avail. The point was reached when there was no remedy, no healing. The people, from the king through to princes, priests, and commoners, were too far gone – too set in their ways.

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Inevitably, God’s judgments fell, and the Kingdom of Judah terminated (see Ezekiel 21:27). Jeremiah 1 verse 6 records Jeremiah’s initial reaction to his calling: ‘Who me? – an obscure priest from Anathoth!?’ “I cannot speak …”. Yet when it came to it – he never flinched from proclaiming God’s Word. For forty years he endured affliction, opposition, hatred, and physical violence from the people he loved and tried his utmost to save. In order to encourage this young man, God gave Jeremiah two visions.

The first involved the rod (branch) of an almond tree (Jeremiah 1v11,12). In the Hebrew language the word ‘almond’ comes from the word ‘hasten’ (to be on the lookout, to be awake, to watch). It is the tree that signals that something is about to happen. How would this vision help and encourage Jeremiah? He was going to have to proclaim a hard and unpopular message: ‘God’s judgments are coming – unless you repent!’

But in fact, there would be no sign of fulfillment until 22 years after the start of Jeremiah’s ministry. In BC 605, judgment began, ending in the siege and destruction of Jerusalem in BC 586. What God had predicted would certainly be fulfilled, and although God’s anger might seem to be ‘sleeping’, it was going to awake.

The second vision involved a pot whose boiling contents were on the point of tipping out. The direction from which this boiling liquid would flow was significant: “a boiling pot, tilting away from the north”. This is further explained in verse 14: “Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land”. The pot was going to tip. A warning was urgently needed. Jeremiah would have to overcome his hesitancy. God was giving a clear warning of where the judgments would originate, but that caused problems for Jeremiah. For 22 years none of his prophecies appeared believable.

When he began his ministry there was no serious threat from the north. The power of Assyria was fading. Egypt, in the south, was the regional superpower. Babylon, at that time, was not considered to be a serious contender. For a long time, Jeremiah would appear to be a false prophet! There is an indication that his message of warning was often mocked: “Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the Lord? let it come now” (Jeremiah 17v15).

It was evident from the outset that Jeremiah’s message was not well received. He began his ministry one year after Josiah commenced his sweeping reforms (BC 627). For the next 18 years of Josiah’s reign, Jeremiah had the unenviable responsibility of calling people ‘hypocrites’.

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Why was this necessary? – Surely Josiah’s enthusiastic reforms had some effect? Jeremiah 3v10 reveals the answer: “Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord”. The word “feignedly” means ‘a sham, an outward show’. The people pretended to respond to Josiah, but in reality, they did not change.

Jeremiah persisted with his message from God of a northern invader. Jeremiah was laughed to scorn for more than two decades, until the third year of Jehoiakim when the Battle of Carchemish (BC 605) determined Babylon as the dominant superpower – led by Nebuchadnezzar. Then Jeremiah’s message changed – surrender to the Babylonians! To fiercely nationalistic Jews that kind of message was even less popular! Jeremiah was branded as a traitor.

Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem and took a number of the people captive to Babylon, including the young prophet Daniel and his three friends. Jeremiah sent a letter to those taken captive. It said, ‘This is God’s message to you – build houses, plant vineyards, seek the peace of Babylon’. That message prompted a nasty letter in reply from Shemaiah, a false prophet in captivity (Jeremiah 29v25-28).

This was typical of the many difficult confrontations Jeremiah would have to endure – not just by nasty letters, but more often in face-to-face encounters with men angered by his words from God.

Although Jeremiah’s efforts seemed to have little effect, all was not in vain. Throughout the dark period of the decline of the nation, there survived a small but faithful remnant. This little group was greatly encouraged by Jeremiah’s words and personal example. After seventy years of captivity, a remnant would return, purged from the corruption of idolatry, to make a new start.

Under Jeremiah’s guidance, a younger generation had grown up in Jerusalem to know, love, and respect the Word of God. Men like Daniel and Ezekiel, who in turn, in captivity, would provide sound teaching and inspiring examples for the generation that would eventually return.

There must have been occasions when Jeremiah had cause to doubt that promise of Jeremiah 1: “Therefore prepare yourself and arise, And speak to them all that I command you. Do not be dismayed before their faces, Lest I dismay you before them. 18 For behold, I have made you this day a fortified city and an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land— Against the kings of Judah, Against its princes, Against its priests. Yet Jeremiah endured – because of character.

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Two verses in the New Testament sum up Jeremiah’s ministry, and thus the ministry of many prophets: “My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience (James 5:10) and also “… Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment (Hebrews 11:36).

It is therefore not easy to be a prophet of God. One speaks words that people do not always want to hear, and at times it takes ages before it comes to pass. So the prophet is often mocked, ridiculed, and rejected. In our modern times, many so-called prophets are not moving in such suffering, because they share “revelations” and exhortations only to please man, even though it is void of all truth.

Riaan Engelbrecht

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